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Oka chiefs to sign binding pact ahead of 2022 polls

THE STAR 10/14/2021

Kalonzo says co-principals will pick him as flagbearer.

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu leader Gideon Moi during a meeting with Oka officials and Mt Kenya delegates on October 7, 2021. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu leader Gideon Moi during a meeting with Oka officials and Mt Kenya delegates on October 7, 2021. Image: MERCY MUMO

One Kenya Alliance principals could sign a pact binding them to work together in next year's polls, dampening hopes of a reunion with ODM boss Raila Odinga. 

It was hoped the Oka chiefs would agree to a political deal with Raila to cobble together a political movement that would face off against Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance. 

The Star has established that the Oka technical committee has prepared a coalition agreement that could be signed as early as mid-November, formally ushering in the third horse in the 2022 polls. 

Oka brings together Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu's Gideon Moi, Musalia Mudavadi of ANC and Ford Kenya chief Moses Wetang'ula. 

Cyrus Jirongo has also joined Oka in what was seen as part of a bigger plan to ring-fence Western Kenya vote bloc away from Raila, who is believed to hold a firm grip. 

On Thursday, Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa, a ranking member of the Oka political board, said the technical team has finalised the alliance's instruments, which also bind the chiefs together. 

“The principals have had an opportunity to look at the agreement and they will be signing it as soon as their dairies allow,” Wamalwa said. 

Kalonzo yesterday fired a salvo at Raila, saying he should retire with President Uhuru Kenyatta next year as "age has caught up with" him. 

“My thinking is that Uhuru should go home with Raila. If you look at the ages of all the others who want to contest for the presidency, Raila is way ahead of us,” Kalonzo said in an interview with Emoo FM. 

He expressed confidence that other Oka principals will pick him as the flagbearer.

“Oka is emerging everywhere. We now have Kadu Asili on board and before December, you will see wonders,” Kalonzo added.

Analysts say Raila has the best chance of taking on Ruto as opposed to any of the Oka principals.

It has emerged that apart from the coalition agreement, there is a detailed agreement committing the five principals to Oka until the 2022 election.  

The legally binding pact is part of a strategy to avert betrayal and deal with issues of trust that bogged down Nasa.  

Raila, Musalia, Wetang'ula and Kalonzo formally disengaged from Nasa at the end of August.  

Raila had been accused of ignoring a secret agreement to step down and support Kalonzo in the 2022 polls. 

This means that once Oka puts pen to paper with regard to the deal, neither of them will jump ship to any other coalition, including that led by Raila until a review is made after the next polls. 

“The agreement is ready and it legally commits our principals to work together under Oka with the view of forming the next government,” Wamalwa said. 

However, as Wamalwa skirted around on the nitty-gritty of the agreement, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the Oka leaders will soon commit themselves to their 2022 plans. 

“The agreement will provide that Oka will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 presidential election and for us as Kanu, we have already endorsed Gideon,” Salat said. 

The Kanu point man stressed that the agreement may not affect the party’s resolve to go all the way to the ballot, especially after its national delegates congress green-lighted the Baringo senator. 

Gideon was on September 30 endorsed by the party’s NDC to be the flag-bear and also given the mandate to negotiate with other like-minded leaders in light of the 2022 polls.  

The latest details come at a time when Oka has been seen as largely indecisive and lacking steam to compete with Raila and Ruto. 

Raila and Ruto are scouring for votes across the country, with analysts saying the Oka bandwagon is dithering and would be ‘donkey’ if it goes all the way. 

There have been reports that some Oka chiefs are quietly negotiating with Raila over their place in the 2022 power matrix. 

Last week, the Oka chiefs cried foul over what they claimed is a plan by the Mount Kenya Foundation—a panel of tycoons and influential businessmen from Uhuru’s turf—to favour Raila. 

The team said it was mandated by Uhuru to scout for his successor.  It has held separate sessions with Raila and Oka chiefs to listen to their views and agenda for Mt Kenya before recommending one of them to the President. 

However, there have been questions about why the group is not meeting all the 2022 presidential candidates. 

On Wednesday, religious leaders under the Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya asked the MKF to be fair and genuine as they search for Uhuru's successor. 

“Even those who have not been called to the meetings have a following too, and you never know how tomorrow will be. It’s wise to hear out everyone who is in that race,” Bishop Samuel Njiriri, the federation’s chairman, said. 

 Edited by A.N 

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